|Keyword : SouthernSong, theYongjiaschool, ChenFuliang, stateactivism, Neo-Confucianism, Neo-Confucian political thought, wealth and power, governance and stability
In 12th century Southern Song China, the renowned Yongjia examination master and political thinker Chen Fuliang (1137-1203) redefined good government in opposition to the visions of state activism. He was among a large number of Southern Song literati who developed the new constitutional visions of a limited yet strong state. By reinterpreting the ancient classics, Chen Fuliang systematically argued that good government consists in the elaborate checks and balances between the central and local governments, state institutions and social organizations, public and private realms, and military power and economic resources. By developing his own constitutional theory of tension and balance, Chen Fuliang contributed toward shifting the paradigms of good government from “wealth and power” (fuqiang 富强) to “governance and stability” (zhi’an 治安).